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SignHealth launches the Two Deaf Foot Fund to improve mental health services for Deaf people

Mark Hodgson and Daniel Dorney became the first Deaf men to walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End. Their journey raised awareness of mental health issues facing the Deaf community.

Mark and Daniel, dubbed “Two Deaf Foot”, walked 1,200 miles. They smashed their original fundraising target of £10,000 to raise more than £60,000. Half of the money raised was donated to SignHealth for mental health support for Deaf people across the UK.

The Two Deaf Foot Fund

Because we are keen to make sure that the Deaf community can see how the money received from the Two Deaf Foot is being spent, we set up a designated fund in SignHealth’s accounts. The Two Deaf Foot Fund will be managed in this separate fund and clearly reported each year in accounts that can be viewed online at any time.

Three of SignHealth’s trustees will join with Mark and Daniel to form the SignHealth Two Deaf Foot Fund Committee. They will approve projects and proposals for how best to spend the money to support Deaf people’s mental health.

“Mark and I are proud to be invited to sit on the SignHealth Two Deaf Foot Fund Committee to manage our donation as a result of the Deaf Community pulling together to smash our fundraising target! We want to make sure the money is spent on charitable activities within SignHealth as well as continuing to fundraise to grow the fund in the future.”

Daniel Dorney

Mental health support

Access to mainstream mental health services for Deaf people is almost non-existent. Yet Deaf people are twice as likely to experience mental health problems than hearing people.

“The process of receiving professional help is lengthy. The waiting times for approval means Deaf people’s problems worsen which makes recovery harder and longer. Some Deaf people struggle accessing mainstream hearing services using interpreters, preferring to see specialised Deaf counsellors that use BSL. We strongly believe it is time for change”

Mark Hodgson

SignHealth provides therapy for Deaf people with mental health challenges directly, without the need of interpreters. Our team of qualified BSL therapists, both deaf and hearing, offer people a choice of therapist and communication style.

Learn more about SignHealth’s Psychological Therapy Service

SignHealth’s chief executive, James Watson-O’Neill, said “There is a mental health crisis facing Deaf people but fundraising to overcome this issue is not the long-term solution. SignHealth is working closely with the NHS to highlight the barriers and we are proud to be working with Shout to offer a free text service to support Deaf People in crisis who need to talk to someone.”

“SignHealth is honoured to be a beneficiary of Mark and Daniel’s incredible efforts and their gruelling walk across the country. This is an absolutely amazing achievement and we are very proud of them. We are all excited about working with Mark & Daniel to establish the SignHealth Two Deaf Foot Fund to ensure their fundraising legacy continues”.

Media Contact

SignHealth Communications Officer 
Call 020 3947 2600

About SignHealth

SignHealth is the Deaf health charity led by Deaf people for Deaf people, including our award-winning Board of Trustees. We are dedicated to making sure Deaf people get the same access to healthcare and health information as hearing people. We are working to improve Deaf people’s health and wellbeing through campaigns and our social care services, therapy and domestic abuse support.

For more information about SignHealth, visit signhealth.org.uk and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @SignHealth

Charity number: 1011056

Update in July 2020

Staff from SignHealth recently met with Mark Hodgson of Two Deaf Foot and we came to the conclusion that we see the world differently, particularly regarding diversity and discrimination. Mark stepped back from activities with SignHealth in June 2020 and together we have now agreed that this will be a permanent separation between him and any other leadership activities with SignHealth . We will always be grateful to Mark for his tremendous fundraising efforts with Two Deaf Foot in 2019 and for championing deaf mental health.

Why does SignHealth provide a Psychological Therapy Service?

Deaf people are twice as likely to experience mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety. This situation is exacerbated by the difficulty we face in accessing support and communicating through interpreters during therapy sessions.
At SignHealth, we are working towards a future where there are no barriers to good health and wellbeing for Deaf people. Join Two Deaf Foot in raising money for change.